On Tuesday, Mitt Romney said he does not have any plans to push for legislation that would limit abortion, which is a much easier stance compared to what he said about removing funding for Planned Parenthood. Romney conducted an interview with The Des Moines Register and his answers can be read in full below.
Just two hours after the Des Moines Register posted the story, the campaign for Romney started walking back his comments. Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaing, said that Romney “would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”
Romney and running mate Paul Ryan do not support abortion but Romney does support exemptions, which Ryan does not. Back in March, Romney said, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that,” when asked about budget cuts he would make as president.
Then, in September, Romney said during an interview with NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ that he wants to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would be against Roe v. Wade.
“I hope to appoint justices for the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe V. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue.”
Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, responded to Romney’s comments, saying: “Romney is misleading the public about his intention to restrict safe and legal abortion. Last week, Mitt Romney was dishonest about his tax plan and his Medicare plan, and today he’s being dishonest about his intention to end access to safe and legal abortion. Mitt Romney has been crystal clear that if he’s elected President, he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. Mitt Romney’s views on women’s health are far outside of the mainstream, and that’s why he’s trying to hide them in the last weeks until the election.”
The campaign for President Barack Obama responded to Romney’s interview with the Des Moines Register, saying: “It’s troubling that Mitt Romney is so willing to play politics with such important issues. But we know the truth about where he stands on a woman’s right to choose – he’s said he’d be delighted to sign a bill banning all abortions, and called Roe v. Wade ‘one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history’ while pledging to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn it. Women simply can’t trust him.”
The transcript, courtesy of the Des Moines Register, is below:
REGISTER: Is there any legislation that you plan to actively pursue in regards to women’s issues? … To what do you attribute the recent bounce with women voters?
ROMNEY: “Probably the appearance of my wife on more TV shows. She is my not so secret weapon and is very effective in speaking to people across the country. But in all seriousness, I also I think as we get closer to the election, there is more attention being paid to my actual positions as opposed to the positions that are being described by my opponent. Over the last several months, he has vastly outspent us on the air and has grossly distorted my views on almost every issue. I mean there’s an ad I don’t know whether it’s here in Iowa right now, but I’ve seen it in Virginia, or I’ve heard of it being shown in Virginia, rather, on a regular basis which says that I’m opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and when the life of the mother is at risk. Well, that’s not true. That’s not my position. But they continue to run that and to send mailers out so I think part of the improvement I’ve seen in support with women has been that I’ve been able to address women directly, in the debates, in more ads of our own, in telephone town hall conferences we have that describe my actual views. That I think is earning me more support.”
REGISTER: Do you intend to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion?
ROMNEY: There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda. One thing I would change, however, which would be done by executive order, not by legislation, is that I would reinstate the Mexico City policy, which is that foreign aid dollars from the United States would not be used to carry out abortion in other countries. It’s long been our practice here that taxpayer dollars are not to be used to fund abortion in this country. President Obama on the 10th day of his administration changed the Mexico City policy to say that abortion services were not prohibited in our foreign aid dollars. I would go back to the original so-called Mexico City policy.”